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Adobe Inc. logo

Adobe Inc.
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At a Glance


Innovative software company that creates excellent products

Commitment to diversity, environmentalism and corporate ethics


High turnover, especially after acquisitions

Can be difficult to get recognition or earn promotions

The Bottom Line

Adobe is a creative software company that has ridden the wave of digital media over the last several decades. It's growing, evolving and always in the process of creating the next new thing.

About Adobe Inc.

Adobe Systems makes software that helps customers create, distribute, and manage digital content from the cloud. One of the top publishing software providers, it has been known for brands such as Acrobat, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver. Adobe serves customers such as content creators and web application developers with its digital media products, and marketers, advertisers, publishers, and others with its digital marketing business. A long-time publisher of traditional software packages, Adobe is moving its products to cloud-based versions. Subscriptions account for more than 80% of revenue. In 2018, Adobe bought Marketo, a marketing-automation company, for $4.75 billion.


Adobe's Digital Media segment, about 70% of revenue, includes products such as Photoshop and Illustrator under the umbrella of the Adobe Creative Cloud, a subscription service.

Its Digital Experience segment, more than 25% of revenue, includes tools for creating, managing, and measuring digital advertising and marketing initiatives. Elements within the segment are Adobe Advertising Cloud, Adobe Analytics Cloud, Adobe Marketing Cloud, and Magento Commerce Cloud.

The Print and Publishing unit, less than 5% of revenue, includes authoring and publishing software and tools that are licensed to manufacturers of workflow software, printers, and other output equipment.

Geographic Reach

The US is Adobe's largest market, representing more than 50% of revenue; other North American countries contribute about 5%. The EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region generates nearly 30% of revenue and the Asia-Pacific region, led by Japan, contributes about 15%.

Headquartered in San Jose, California, Adobe has field offices in about 30 countries across the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

Sales and Marketing

Adobe sells directly and through distributors, resellers, systems integrators, and retailers. In addition, it licenses its technology to hardware manufacturers for integration into their products.

Financial Performance

Adobe Systems' revenue more than doubled from 2014-2018, propelled by its digital offerings and higher sales through subscriptions.

Revenue rose 23% to $9 billion in 2018 (ended September), an increase of $1.7 billion from than 2017. Sales from Adobe Experience Cloud grew 20% while subscription revenue jumped 26% year-to-year. Other factors boosting revenue were sales from Magento's commerce platform and Marketo's marketing cloud.

Net income was no slouch for Adobe in 2018, increasing more than 50% to about $2.6 billion in 2018 from 2017, due to the higher subscription revenue, as well as a decrease in the provision for income taxes. (The company's effective tax rate was 7% in 2018 compared to 21% in 2017, due the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act).

Cash and cash equivalents stood at $1.6 billion at the end of 2018 compared to $2.3 billion at the close of 2017. Operations generated about $4 billion in cash in 2018 while investing activities used $4.7 billion and investing activities used $5.7 billion.

Adobe's indebtedness rose to $4.1 billion in 2018 from $1.9 billion in 2017, doubling its debt-to-equity ratio. A higher level of debt could affect it how the responds to changing economic conditions and reduce cash flow for other expenses.


Adobe Systems' charge into the cloud and a subscription-based business model has paid off for the company. It has reported rising revenue and net income for the past five years and driven its profit margin to about 28% in 2018 from about 7% in 2014.

Just about every product in Adobe's portfolio has the word cloud in it. The company has added digital marketing applications and services to its digital media offerings, which has raised subscriptions to account for about 88% of revenue from about 75% of revenue in 2016. Its applications also are made to use and view on mobile devices.

The Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) product, which helps customers organize, create, and manage the delivery of creative assets and other content across digital marketing channels, has been a hit with customers, according to the company.

As it has moved into more areas, Adobe faces bigger competitors with longer histories of cloud operations such as Oracle and, as well as enterprise software providers such as SAS and SAP.

Adobe has spent more than $7.7 billion in the past two years on acquisitions to bolster its marketing, cloud, and analytics offerings.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2019 Adobe Systems bought Allegorithmic, the maker of Substance, a tool for creating 3D textures and materials in game and video post-production. Adobe intends to combine Allegorithmic's Substance 3D design tools with Creative Cloud's imaging, video, and motion graphics tools for video game creators, visual effects artists in film and television, designers, and marketers.

Adobe Systems acquired Marketo for $4.75 billion in 2018 in Adobe's biggest acquisition. The deal bolstered Adobe's marketing offerings with Marketo's business-to-business marketing platform, combining Adobe's Experience Cloud analytics, content, personalization, advertising, and commerce capabilities with Marketo's lead management and account-based marketing technology. Marketo had been bought out by Vista Equity Partners in 2016 for $1.8 billion after about three years as a public company.

Earlier in 2018 Adobe Systems agreed to buy Magento Commerce for $1.7 billion in an attempt to move into ecommerce. Magento's customers use its technology to operate their online stores. Adobe intends to cross-sell its digital marketing products to Magento customers. The companies have some customers in common such as Coca-Cola, Warner Music Group, Nestlé, and Cathay Pacific. Customers that Magento brings to the table include Canon, Helly Hansen, Paul Smith, and Rosetta Stone. The deal is expected to close in the 2018 third quarter.

In 2017 Adobe Systems bought the SkyBox technology assets from Mettle, a developer 360-degree and virtual reality software. The Skybox tools are designed for post-production in Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe After Effects CC and complement Adobe Creative Cloud's 360/VR cinematic production technology. Adobe integrated SkyBox plugin functionality into subsequent releases of Premiere Pro and After Effects.


Company Background

When Charles Geschke hired John Warnock as chief scientist for Xerox's new graphics and imaging lab, he set the stage for one of the world's largest software makers. While at the Xerox lab, the pair developed the PostScript computer language, which tells printers how to reproduce digitized images on paper. When Xerox refused to market it, the duo left that company and started Adobe (named after a creek near their homes in San Jose, California) in 1982.

Adobe Inc.

San Jose, CA 95110-2704
Phone: 1 (408) 536-6000

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: ADBE
Stock Exchange: , NASDAQ
EVP and CFO: Mark S. Garrett
Chairman, President and CEO: Shantanu Narayen
EVP Worldwide Field Operations: Matthew A. Thompson
Employees (This Location): 600
Employees (All Locations): 21,357

Major Office Locations

San Jose, CA

Other Locations

San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
Coral Gables, FL
Newton, MA
Annapolis, MD
Arden Hills, MN
New York, NY
Austin, TX
Dallas, TX
Lehi, UT
Mc Lean, VA
Seattle, WA
Bengaluru, India
Mumbai, India
New Delhi, India
Noida, India
Etobicoke, Canada
Ottawa, Canada
Oslo, Norway
Singapore, Singapore